Originally Posted by Gumby
Affinity fraud affects all groups where people think they have a common bond and shared interest. Religious people are not any more credulous than any other group in this respect. Shared employment, social activities, ethnicity or country of origin are also common bonds exploited by affinity fraudsters.
I'm reminded by this every time I'm called by various charities claiming to be affiliated to or aligned with police and fire organizations.
But these groups usually eat 80-90% of your donation in fund raising expenses, including the employment of professional high-pressure sales people soliciting funds. Most legitimate police charities really hate these guys just as legitimate religious charities hate it when scam artists hiding behind religion do it, as it undermines trust in not only the legitimate charities doing work under those banners, but can make some people distrustful of the institution itself.
My wife (early in our marriage) once pledged $50 to an "affinity" charity tying itself to fire departments -- when we got the "bill" a couple days later I saw the fine print and saw that only $6 was going to the actual works and the rest was fundraising and administrative. We didn't return the envelope and they went away after calling once a few weeks later wondering where our donation was. (We assuaged the guilt by giving $20 directly to a much more reputable local firefighters charity. We saved a lot of money and three times as much went to actual good works.)
All it takes is an entity that a lot of people trust and someone will misuse it to prey on unsuspecting donors.